Bryan Phillips – MSA GB Driving Instructor Member Interview

My Journey to Becoming a Driving Instructor

I’m Bryan Phillips, a 42-year-old driving instructor with 15 years of experience. My journey began in the motor trade, working for Citroen UK in Glasgow as a parts consultant. I then moved on to selling car insurance for Direct Line before finally fulfilling my lifelong dream of becoming a driving instructor.

Initially, I explored Instructor College but it felt more like a sales pitch than an educational programme. So, I shifted to selling insurance until a rekindled desire led me to the AA driving school. The process was smooth, and I appreciated the no-pressure approach. I passed the required tests, though it took three tries for me to pass Part 3. After qualifying, I worked with the AA for two and a half years before going independent.

Insights on Training and Becoming an Instructor

When choosing a training programme, trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, question it and seek more information. Good training should feel educational, not like a sales pitch.

Starting with a franchise like the AA provided me with invaluable support and resources and is where I would tell any new driving instructor to start. Being independent offers flexibility and cost benefits. While a franchise helps build an initial client base, going independent can be more economical in the long run, but I would suggest only going independent once you have a few years of experience under your belt.

Building and Managing a Client Base

Most of my new clients come through word-of-mouth and my business’s Facebook page. Social media, especially Facebook, has been instrumental in attracting new students. I also rely on a simple roof sign on my car for local advertising.

Specialising in Diverse Client Needs

I work with various clients, including those with Asperger’s and ADHD. While I’m not equipped to handle dyspraxia, I enjoy working with students with autism. It requires a bit more patience and support, but once they get it, they excel.

Adapting Teaching Methods

For nervous drivers, it’s about understanding their fears and gradually building their confidence. For overconfident drivers, it’s about creating safe yet challenging situations to help them understand the importance of caution.

Future Challenges and Opportunities

One significant challenge is the high cost of driving lessons and car insurance, which may deter young people from learning to drive. This impacts our client base and overall business. Insurance costs are rising due to factors like rookie claims, car theft, and fraudulent claims, affecting both learners and instructors.

Despite these challenges, the joy of helping someone gain confidence and independence through driving keeps me motivated. Balancing this passion with the practicalities of running a business is key to long-term success in this industry.

How MSA GB has supported me in my Driving Instructor Journey

The MSA has kept me up to date with changes to the driver trainer industry through the MSA Newslink Magazine and local and national meetings.

It’s also been great having the peace of mind that my MSA Membership gives me many benefits and covers me for the likes of public liability and professional indemnity insurances.


Leave a Reply